Kidneys are the most prominent organ in our body. We have two kidneys on each side of our spine and they are crucial to have a healthy body. They filter the waste products, excess water and impurities from the blood. They basically detoxify our body. The toxins and wastes are disposed of from the body through urination. The kidneys are also responsible for regulating pH, salt and potassium levels in the body. Also, the kidneys trigger a form of Vitamin D which is important for calcium absorption.
Having kidney disease can hinder your body from cleaning the toxins and once they are damaged they can’t perform their function which is significant for our body. There are several signs of kidney disease you should be aware of as a damaged kidney can cause many severe health problems.
Read on to know more about the signs of kidney disease!
What is kidney disease?
A large number of adults suffer from kidney disease and yet don’t know about it. Kidney disease happens when your kidney becomes damaged and can’t perform their function. Damage can be caused by many reasons including diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases. If the kidney disease gets worse and isn’t cured in time, the kidneys can stop working completely. There are many physical signs of kidney disease and commonly people mistake it for other conditions and most probably ignore it.
You may not experience any symptom until the disease is in the late stages. Usually, the symptoms start to show up when there is a large amount of protein in the urine or your kidney starts to fail (Kidney Failure). This is one of the reasons why only 10℅ people know they have chronic kidney disease. So, you are most likely to experience the signs of kidney disease when the kidney is badly damaged or on the verge of failure.
Symptoms or signs of kidney disease
As you have already read, the kidney disease symptoms may not show up until it is in the late stages. When you know the chronic kidney disease symptoms, it’s always to get the best treatment for it immediately. The symptoms can be mild, severe or even no symptoms at all.
If you have one or more kidney disease symptoms or worried about kidney disease, go to the doctor for urine and blood tests. However, these symptoms may be caused due to other health conditions, so it’s best to see your doctor and know the cause.
Changes in urination
A healthy kidney performs the function of filtering the blood and creating urine. However, if the kidneys do not function well, for example, needing to urinate more frequently or seeing blood or foam in the urine, it might be a sign that the kidneys are damaged due to excessive protein in your urine.
Also read: Urine: 6 Different Colors & What It Means
Kidneys naturally make a hormone called erythropoietin or EPO which supports your body in making red blood cells.
When the kidneys fail in doing so, they make less of this hormone leading to the generation of lesser RBCs. With fewer RBC’s, the muscle and brain get tired very easily and cause fatigue.
Dizziness and weakness
Due to kidney failure, there is less generation of red blood cells in the body leading to anaemia. Anaemia linked to kidney failure means that your brain is not getting enough oxygen and due to that, you feel dizzy and weak.
Dry and itchy skin might be a sign of kidney disease. When you are suffering from kidney disease, you have an imbalance of minerals and nutrients in your blood that causes itching due to high blood levels of phosphorus.
Puffiness around the eyes
A persistent puffiness around the eyes can be one of the potential signs of kidney disease. Excessive protein in the kidney can result in the leakage of protein in the urine rather than restraining it inside the body which can cause puffiness around the eyes.
Swelling around hands or feet
One of the most common signs of kidney disease can be swelling occurring on your legs, ankles, feet or hands. This happens because the failing kidneys do not remove the excess fluid that builds up in your body causing the swelling.
Poor appetite can be a cause of many health conditions. However, a poor appetite or metal-like taste can be a common kidney disease symptoms. The buildup of toxins due to reduced kidney function may cause a lack of appetite.
Trouble in sleeping
When the kidneys are failing in performing their function, toxins stay in the blood instead of disposing of the body which can make it difficult for the person to sleep. Sleep apnea is more common with people having chronic kidney disease.
Shortness of breath
When the kidneys are not functioning well, there can be extra fluid building up inside your kidneys because they aren’t removing enough fluid. It may cause shortness of breath that happens because of the shortness of oxygen-carrying red blood cells that can cause breathlessness.
Cramping in the muscles
The impaired kidney may cause electrolyte imbalances. Low calcium levels and poorly controlled phosphorus levels may probably cause the muscles to cramp.
Pain in the back
You may encounter localized pain near your kidney which becomes worse when you move or stretch, it can be near the lower back where the kidneys are located.
These were some of the prominent signs of kidney disease. If you have chronic kidney disease, you might experience urination changes, tiredness, shortness of breath, swelling around hands or feet, puffiness on the face, itchiness on the skin, trouble sleeping, poor appetite, muscle cramping, pain in the back, dizziness and fatigue. However, these signs might be a cause of some other health condition, so if you experience two or more symptoms from the above list, see your doctor and know the actual reason rather than worrying.
A healthy kidney is vital for our body. Living a healthy lifestyle may prevent you from developing kidney disease. So, eat healthily and stay fit!